Cornell University’s undergraduate team and Fordham University’s graduate teams won top honors in the eleventh annual Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation Real Estate Challenge. The challenge tasked students with creating a hypothetical master plan for a five-parcel site in Chicago’s South Side Woodlawn Community, adjacent to the future home of the Obama Presidential Center. The challenge’s final presentations took place on Saturday, April 10.
Cornell and Fordham were among 11 teams from 10 universities from across the country to participate in the program. Each winning team was awarded $5,000 in scholarships, made possible by Wintrust Commercial Real Estate, toward their university’s real estate program.
This year’s Challenge site, in a historically under-invested Chicago corridor, is a five-parcel assemblage totaling approximately 15.5-acres, or 675,000 square feet of land. The site currently consists of a single-story retail center, surface parking lots, a vacant, unimproved site, and a community recreation center with ample outdoor green space and play space (YMCA).
Cornell’s proposal, Point 180, presented by their team named Big Red Capital, earned first place recognition in the undergraduate division. Point 180 seeks to appeal to Woodlawn’s community goals through the development of an investment in a 30,000 square foot arts center; The Pershing Hotel, a 140 room, 7-story boutique hotel concept to accommodate visitors of the Obama Presidential Center, a mixed-use retail/office development; a public food hall and market totaling 28,000 square feet; and a public parking garage to accommodate 30,000 square feet of available area. The total projected cost of Point 180 is $170,930,732 million.
Cornell University’s Big Red Capital team included Jenny Bai, Jonah Deich, Abhimanyu Goyal, Samantha Khatchadourian, Alicia O’Neil, and Johanna Tadie. Their faculty advisor was Daneil Lebret. Industry mentors included Steve Rachman, Marcus & Millichap; Terry McCollom, McCollom Realty; and Mahze McQueen, T. Dallas Smith & Company.
Fordham’s proposed Bishop Square was awarded first place in the Graduate Division. The vision of Bishop Square would bring 60,000 square feet of enhanced green space, with surface parking. A significant component of the development,109,500 square feet will be developed into a public market with open space, performing arts venue, conference center and exhibition space, as well as feature a boutique hotel. There also would be space dedicated for ghost kitchens and local workshops. 255,500-square-feet will be developed into mid-to-highrise residential over retail podium, ground level non-profit office, structured parking, and a new YMCA facility to remain under the current South Side YMCA ownership. A multifamily component that would feature townhome and apartment units with 30% of units dedicated to meet affordable housing needs. Bishop Square would ultimately add a community cultural center highlighting the history of Chicago and Woodlawn. The total projected cost of Bishop Square is $412,409,078 million.
Fordham University’s team includedOrion Hinkley, Adelaide Farrow, Gabriel Seidel. Their faculty advisor was Peter Buckey. Their industry mentors were David Gaines, Amanda Friant and Mark Stern, all of JLL; and Jolene Saul, Brinshore Development.
Teams delivered live Zoom presentations to a panel of distinguished judges that included Clarence Carson, Chicago Public Schools; Maurice Cox, Chicago Department of Planning and Development; Claudia Herasme, Chicago Department of Planning and Development; LB Johnson, Walmart; Al Klairmont, Imperial Realty; Cherryl Thomas, Wintrust Board of Directors; and Leon Walker, DL3 Realty.
Recordings of the presentations are available on the Foundation’s website. The Real Estate Challenge was designed to provide students with a hands-on academic opportunity to apply what they are learning in their university courses to the real working world of real estate. Through the challenge, students had the opportunity to work alongside qualified mentors and industry leaders as they were tasked with hypothetical projects relating to the forefront of Chicago real estate.
Supporters of the 2021 Challenge included Wintrust Commercial Real Estate, LEVEL Incorporated, TFF Productions, DL3 Realty, and the Chicago Department of Planning and Development.
Members of the CRE community, in Chicago and across the country, can demonstrate their support for next year’s Challenge and the Foundation with various Sponsorship Opportunities and industry leader mentorship roles. For more information, contact Kelly Candotti, Director of Development.